Sociology 248:
 
ROBERT J.S. ROSS Spring 1998
TuTh 1:15 - 2:30
Office: 400 Jefferson
Office Hours: Office Hours: TuThurs. 3-5 and Wednesday by appointment
E-Mail: rross@clarku.edu
 

This course explores capitalism as a global system. At the theoretical level the course claims that the current form of capitalism represents yet another historical form of capitalism. At the empirical level it is a research course in that each student will participate in a research project and in the writing of a paper. These papers will focus on the sweatshop problem in global context. Papers of adequate quality completed early enough will be presented at Academic Spree Day. For sociology majors who are members of the class of 1998 the paper will satisfy the capstone requirement.
 

WORK

There will be two brief essay exams and a research paper for the course. One essay will come before the midterm and another during the last two weeks. Students will also present their work and papers in class and participate in discussion of reading and lecture material. The research paper drafts (typed or word processed, with most of the documentation present) will be due approximately March 26 (in time for Academic Spree Day program printing); final versions will be due at the last class meeting.
Essay I 15%
Essay II 15%
Class Participation 20%
Research Paper 50%
Total 100%
 

Work and Class Expectations: READ CAREFULLY

1. DEADLINES: Students are expected to master, understand, and to be aware of ALL deadlines and products. If you are in doubt: examine this syllabus first; then call; email; come to office hours. Changes may be made during class discussions. If you're not there you are still responsible! See the Table of Significant Dates below.

2. CLASS MEETINGS: Be there. Change is inherent in the universe. This syllabus is alive with possibility. You miss an announcement, tough. Besides: they pay me the big bucks to be there for you. You're wasting your time and somebody's money if you bag class.

3. READING: By Tuesday each week. This is A BIG DEAL. I assume you've done the reading. Thursday is workshop day on research. So, get it done in time to be part of the program.

4. CLASS PARTICIPATION: Education is NOT a spectator sport. Note: 20% of your grade depends on your activity in class. Showing up is good, but it is not enough. Time is precious. Ask your questions. Express your doubts. Say what you know. Perform your assignments. Silence is death.

For each week, class members will be assigned as advocates and critics. Advocates will hand out a single page summary of the lead article or selection; critics will hand out a single page critical appraisal. The lead article or selection is designated in the signup sheet attached. Once you have signed up you are committed. Absence on the day of your commitment merits capital punishment.

Note Carefully: Each class member is expected to do all the reading; and advocates and critics are expected to be able to related the "lead article" to the others assigned.

Furthermore: for the purposes of discussion and criticism, the work of Ross in "Ross and Trachte" and elsewhere is to be dealt with in the same ruthless objectivity as any other author.

5. EMAIL AND INTERNET: Students will be expected to check for email before each class session. Each student will master internet searches.

This syllabus is posted on the internet at: http://www.clarku.edu/~rross/globalcap.htm

The items in the syllabus which are listed under "READ" and are indicated with an internet address are materials not on reserve, not in your packet, but compulsory for you to read. This means you MUST learn to access this material. If you can't do it now, don't despair. Between me and the OIS staff we will teach you. Items listed as "Resources" are things which will help you. This hard copy of the syllabus does not yet have the online links designated. As they are posted on the web, I will hand out revisions to this to notify you of their availability.

6. Research Paper Assignments:

Research paper assignments will be accomplished by groups of two and three. Students will choose from a list distributed during the first week of class. This list is hot and live: it is directly related to the real research I am advancing on the issue of globalization and sweatshops. We will be, instructor and student researchers, dependent upon one another. Students may form their own groups of two and three and each group will indicate its first and second topic choices. I will try to honor first choices but a certain amount of spread is necessary to insure topical coverage.

During the first week, preference sheets will be distributed to students and during the second week they will be returned and I will make assignments.

7. TEAM WORK: Since the paper is a collaborative effort, a great deal of your work this term involves the organizing and use of individuals' efforts in relation to a team goal. For instance, you will need to establish some rules regarding meeting times, responsibilities, division of labor, and equity in contribution. Group expectations should be consensually defined and clearly articulated. Failure to meet these expectations, (i.e., persistently "forgetting" meetings, not completing drafts, uncooperativeness and so forth), must be responded to immediately.

However, as in life, each team member must take group responsibility for the product. Each team member will receive for the paper the same grade. Choose partners with care and then learn to get the most from each other's work! Since the success of your paper is tied to your ability to work effectively as a team, you must master the principles of group work.

Books ordered for this course and placed on Reserve:

Ross and Trachte: Global Capitalism: The New Leviathan

Bonacich et al Global Production: The Apparel Industry in the Pacific Rim

Gereffi and Korzeniewicz, editors, Commodity Chains and Global Capitalism.

Ross, Andrew, editor. No Sweat.

Danaher, Kevin, Editor, Corporations Are Gonna Get Your Mama.

Articles in the Course Packet:

Robert Ross: "Global capitalism and labor at the end of history" Socialism and Democracy, 9:2 (#19), Fall/Winter 1995-96.

------"Global Capital, Global Unions: Speculations on the Future of Global Unionism." in Die Geburt der Weltwirtschaft, edited by Karl. S. Althaler & Hardy Hanappi. Vienna: Sonderzahl Verlages. 1995.

Chan (Washington Post article)

Rothstein- Amsden Debate on Labor Standards (Boston Review).

Richard Rothstein, "The Starbucks Solution," The American Prospect no. 27 (July-August 1996): 36-42 ( http://epn.org/prospect/27/27roth.html).

Robert Ross: "The Theory of Global Capitalism: State Theory and Variants of Capitalism on a World Scale." in A New World Order? Global Transformation in the Late 20th Century, edited by Jozsef Borocz & David A. Smith. Westport: Greenwood. 1995.

Ross: "The Relative Decline of Relative Autonomy: Global Capitalism and Political Power," in Edward Greenberg and Thomas Mayer, editors, Changes In The State: Causes and Consequences, Russell Sage, Newbury Park. 1990. pp. 206-223.

Leslie Sklair: "The Culture-ideology of consumerism" Pages pp 72-84; Chapter 5.

Ross: "Kathie Lee Makes a Difference"

SCHEDULE OF TOPICS AND ASSIGNMENTS
 

JANUARY

Week#

1. Tue 13 First day of classes

Introductions: Images of the global system

Thurs 15

Brief Introduction to approaches to the question of changing structure:

World System, Monthly Review, Regulationist; neoclassical.

Global hype and global skeptics.

Group Paper Topics discussed briefly and distributed
 

Read: Ross and Trachte: Introduction;

Danaher,ed.: Danaher: "Introduction."
 

2. Tues 20 Analytical tools: the Three Relations of Capitalism

Read: Ross and Trachte: Tools for Analysis. Ch. 2

In Gereffi and Korzeniewicz:

Korzeniewicz (Chapter 1); Hopkins and Wallerstein, (2.1); Ozveren (2.2); Hopkins and Wallerstein,( 2.4).

DUE: Research Paper/Group Preference forms due.
 

Thurs 22 Formulating a research problem. The problem statement. Research choices for Spring 1997.

DUE: Research Assignments made.
 

3. Tues. 27 Approaches to Global Capitalism

Read: Ross and Trachte: Chapters 3,4,5

Danaher: Selections 1-6: Barnet, Sale, Korten, Mande, Mokhiber, Nader
 

Thurs 29

The global alternative (cont.)

Discussion:

FEBRUARY

4. Tues. 3 Case studies in global capitalism: first world

NY, Detroit, MA

Read: Ross and Trachte: 6,7,8.

Sassen: 4,5.
 

Thurs 5

Research ideas on impacts of globalism

Discussion: sources for group projects. WWW.?.?

Problem Statement Drafts Due
 

5. Tues 10 Commodity chains

Read: (G&K): Schoenberger (3); Korzeniewicz and Martin (4) ;Gereffi (5); Rabach and Kim (6); Raynolds (7).
 

Thur 12

Commodity chains discussion

Research on commodity chains

Literature Review First Draft Due: items and abstract descriptions

Essay I questions distributed

6. Tues. 17

Labor and global capitalism

Read: in Danaher: Selections 7-11: Barnet and Cavanagh; Rinehart; Cavanagh, Anderson and Pike; Horn; Public Citizen

Packet: Ross: "Global capitalism and labor at the end of history" Socialism and Democracy, 9:2 (#19), Fall/Winter 1995-96. "Global Capital, Global Unions: Speculations on the Future of Global Unionism." in Die Geburt der Weltwirtschaft, edited by Karl. S. Althaler & Hardy Hanappi. Vienna: Sonderzahl Verlagsges. 1995.
 

Thurs. 19

Resource sharing and problem solving

Come with cleanly typed and xeroxed copies of your bibliography to give to other groups -- one copy for each group and for me.
 

7. Tues 24

The Global apparel industry

Review In G&K: Gereffi (5)

Read: In BCCHO: Chapter 1, 2, 3,4,5.;

In G&K: 9,10,12.
 

Thurs. 26

Essay I Due
 

MARCH

8. Tues. 3

Sweatshop conditions abroad : Background

Read: In BCCHO: Chapters 6-16;

In Ross, editor: Cavanagh; Krupat; Kernaghan; National labor Committee; Piore
 

Packet: Chan (Washington Post)

Thurs 5

Introduction and Literature Review Sections of Paper Due.

Progress Reports from Groups.
 

SPRING BREAK

9. Tues. 17

Sweatshops in US

Read: In Ross, ed.: Su, Howard, Proper, Mort, Nutter

Thurs. 19

Detailed outlines of remaining parts of paper due.

Work in groups
 

10. Tues 24

Policy Options for Sweatshop Melioration
 

Read: In Ross, editor: Shaw.

Packet: Rothstein- Amsden Debate on Labor Standards;

Richard Rothstein, "The Starbucks Solution," The American Prospect no. 27 (July-August 1996): 36-42 ( http://epn.org/prospect/27/27roth.html). Other material tba.

Thurs. 26

Discussion of policy issues

First draft of papers due
 

11. Tues 31.

Global capitalism and state theory

Read: Packet: Robert Ross: "The Theory of Global Capitalism: State Theory and Variants of Capitalism on a World Scale."Ross: "The Relative Decline of Relative Autonomy: Global Capitalism and Political Power," in Edward Greenberg and Thomas Mayer, editors, Changes In The State: Causes and Consequences, Russell Sage, Newbury Park. 1990. pp. 206-223.
 

APRIL

Thurs 2

Discussion: Social democracy, socialism and globalism

Feedback to groups
 

12. Tues 7

Global Cap and the conservative ascendancy

Read: Ross and Trachte: 10,11

Packet: Ross: "The Theory of Global Capitalism: State Theory and Variants of Capitalism on a World Scale." in A New World Order? Global Transformation in the Late 20th Century, edited by Jozsef Borocz & David A. Smith. Westport: Greenwood. 1995;
 

Thurs 9

Oral Presentations Begin

Essay II Questions Distributed

13 Tues. 14

Ideology

Read from Packet: Leslie Sklair: "The Culture-ideology of consumerism" Pages pp 72-84; Chapter 5; Ross: "Kathie Lee Makes a Difference"
 

Thurs. 16

Oral presentations continue
 

FRIDAY APRIL 17: ACADEMIC SPREE DAY PRESENTATIONS
 

14 Tues 21

Closing comments

Thurs. 23

Party Closing Comments

Essay II Due
 

Final Draft of Papers due April 27

.
TABLE OF SIGNIFICANT DATES AND PRODUCTS
DATE PRODUCT
1/15/98 Group Paper Topics discussed briefly and distributed
1/20 Research Paper/Group Preference forms due.
1/22 Research Paper assignments made
2/5 Problem Statement Drafts Due
2/12 Literature Review First Draft Due: items and abstract descriptions 

Essay I questions distributed

2/26 Essay I due 
3/5 Introduction and Literature Review Sections of Paper Due.
3/19 Detailed outlines of remaining parts of paper due.
3/26 First draft of papers due
4/9 Oral Presentations Begin 

Essay II Questions Distributed 

4/16 Oral presentations
4/17 Academic Spree Day
4/21 PARTY

Essay II due

4/27 Final paper due
 

ASSIGNMENT #1: PROBLEM STATEMENT
 

Being able to articulate the problem(s) or question(s) posed for your project is the first step in your project. This involves being able to specify the type of information you would need in order to answer the question presented. It is important to begin immediately to articulate your understanding of the project. First, this will be the basis of your conversation with me, and the beginning of your mastery of the material. It will also determine the type and sources of information you will seek in completing your literature review. Finally, your formulation of the problem will serve as the basis for your research methodology, that is outlining the specific steps you will take in order to accomplish your objective.
 

The satisfactory accomplishment of this assignment requires a concise paragraph which summarizes what the problem is simple declarative sentences which describe a question being asked. The paragraph should state the nature of the product which will answer the question.
 
 

ASSIGNMENT #2: Literature Review
 

Empirical research is informed by questions others have posed and answer they have received. In short, scientific inquiries are made in response to previous research and seek to advance our understanding incrementally. For this reason, an integral component of any research proposal is the literature review. In this section of the paper you will discuss significant examples of previous research or theory relating to your problem. It should also include any relevant background information regarding the issues you are addressing. With that in mind, you should begin to familiarize yourself with the library's capabilities to do computer searches and collecting material for literature review immediately.
 

In reviewing the body of scientific literature addressing your question, you should not simply describe each source in sequence. The review should be organized around ideas, concepts, themes, and findings rather than the sources themselves.
 

A first draft of your literature review for your proposal is due on February 12. This draft should contain an outline of your literature review, incorporating a minimum of ten sources, either articles or books, that have a direct bearing on your project.
 
 

A final draft of your literature review is due on March 13, and should have at least fifteen references. It should be written in narrative form discussing themes in the material.
 

Paper topics
 

Sweatshop related papers

1. The Guess? Jeans story.

Guess Jeans is a success story of an immigrant family who became wealthy by making jeans a chic fashion commodity for young adults and teens. They were among the first firms to agree to voluntarily monitor their contractors for compliance with labor law. But their contractors were repeatedly found in violation of the law - of being sweatshops. Under pressure from labor organizers (from UNITE) and intellectuals and artists and some student action, Guess - last January - announced it was moving a lot of its production to Mexico. This group will research a write a detailed case history of the Guess story.
 
 

2. Ethnic discourse about sweatshops.

This paper studies media discussion of sweatshops and the use of "immigrant" and "ethnic" identifiers of workers. One undergraduate is doing a social psychological study of this topic. This group will gather news stories and analyze the frequency and nature of their use an immigrant discourse to situate the sweatshop problem.
 

3. Comparing strategies to meliorate sweatshop conditions. These include voluntary labeling; government enforcement; laws to change liability; independent monitoring; consumer boycotts. All of thee have different flaws, costs, etc. The paper carefully describes each and compares them. In particular it tracks current discussion of international standards.
 

4. Causes of sweatshops (sub-minimum labor conditions) 1911 vs. 1990.

Revision from hard copy description: This group will study approximately 1920-1940 to discover what reform efforts were made in the anti- sweatshop effort, e.g., factory safety legislation and state-level child labor laws, and how conditions in the apparel industry changed before and after the Depression..
 

5. The defeat of Fast-track authority, 1997.

The NAFTA treaty passed: fast track lost. What was the difference between 1993 and 1997? The nature of Congressional Democrats? The experience with NAFTA? The revived labor movement? All of the above?



SOC. 248/GLOBAL CAPITALISM/SP98

PROJECT PREFERENCE FORM:
 

NAME:
 

BOX NUMBER
 

EMAIL:
 

PHONE:
 

FIRST CHOICE:
 
 
 
 

SECOND CHOICE:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Relevant Course work:
 

_________________________________________________________________
 

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Person You want to work with:
 
 
 
 

Personal Reasons for Topic Preference:

_________________________________________________________________
 

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